The former middle-distance Olympic runner and high-end escort speaks out for the first time about her battle with mental illness and how mania controlled and compelled her in competition but also in life. This is a heartbreakingly honest yet hopeful memoir reminiscent of Manic, Electroboy, and An Unquiet Mind.
During the 1990s three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton was the darling of American track and field. An outstanding runner, a major sports-apparel spokesperson, and a happily married wife, she was the model for an active, healthy, and wholesome life. But her perfect facade masked a dark truth: manic depression and bipolar disorder that drove her obsession to perform and win. For years after leaving the track, Suzy wrestled with her condition as well as the loss of a close friend, conflicted feelings about motherhood and her marriage, and lingering shame about her athletic career. After a misdiagnosis and a recommendation for medication that only exacerbated her mania and made her hypersexual, Suzy embarked on a new path and assumed a new identity. Fueled by a newfound confidence, a feeling of strength, and independence and a desire she couldn't tamp down, she became a high-priced escort in Las Vegas, working as "Kelly".
But Suzy could not keep her double life a secret forever. When it was eventually exposed, it sent her into a reckless suicidal period where the only option seemed out. Finally, with the help of her devoted husband, Suzy got the proper medical help she needed. In this startling, frank memoir, she recounts the journey to outrun her demons, revealing how a woman used to physically controlling her body learned to come to terms with her unstable mind.
©2015 Suzy Favor Hamilton (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Being from Wisconsin and knowing of Suzy over the years with her running ability and then about her being an escort it intrigued me to read/listen to this book to see why. Sad to find out that all along she had bipolar disease and I am sure that is why she never went anywhere in the Olympics...such as shame. Hope she can help a lot of people with her story. Couldn't turn the book off wanted to keep listening to see what was next. A must read book or listen.
Biographies have always been a favorite of mine Even if I'm not particularly interested in the subject. This one is well written and the narrator was very good.
Unless you are reading something about Jesus, there will be self-serving vanity in every biography whether self written or not. This one goes way beyond that.
Suzy was an outstanding runner even if not a Olympic medalist. That part of the book I found interesting and wished there had been more discussion and insight to that aspect of her life. After all that is what she was famous for before all this, and that is the reason we would even bother reading about her.
Most people who suffer from mental illness do not become prostitutes. I know from experience that no matter how bad the illness or the symptoms of that illness we still have a choice. While I don't want a long discussion of mental illness, what seemed abundantly clear is that Suzy somehow failed to grow up. Yes, we would all like to experience again those first time highs we had in our teens and twenties but the reality is we cannot. Or we cannot without it quickly becoming destruction. She made a big deal of her bipolar diagnosis, yet she also states near the end of the book that exercise is now her drug of choice. So with five psychiatrist/psychologist and many others she now has exercise as her drug of choice.
There is a lot of talk of shame and guilt in this book but neither has been answered, only forgotten and replaced. Her time as a prostitute seems to still be the best part of her life, she writes with enthusiasm about that part of her life. That only works for a while too. Bottom line on this book is that I do not ever wish to meet Suzy Favor Hamilton or her husband. It all seems the height of narcissism and the result of never realizing there are things high and better than self.
Instead of an autobiography, this was a book full of excuses and narcissism - a kind of "justification" for her infidelities.
Runner, athlete, financeprofessor, but mainly known for BonaResponds (volunteer organization)
Suzy shows much bravery in telling her story. Good luck w everything. Pulling for you!
I was interested throughout but I was turned off by the author. Yes, she was an amazing athlete, but the nature of her behavior was so arrogant and self serving. I feel sorry for her family, especially her husband. After I realized I contributed to this family's bottom line by buying this book it made me a little sick. I am glad I got it on one of those 4.95 specials, lol
Great narration and voice
An excellent narration of the untreated anxiety, its effect on the performance
Of a professional runner, challenges with a family member with bipolar disorder, how lack of boundaries In a relationship can eventually make it uncontrollable, the effect
Of possible poor judgment or cognitive deficit related to mental illness which contributed to on risk taking behaviors.
I do not consider her story a typical bipolar disorder.
I would prefer the book unquiet
Mind to better illustrate bipolar disorder. Typically the patients with manic episodes may have a distinct episode of hypersexuality, but not a continuous one.
Ideally she should have stopped her real state job, public activities , motivational speaker position, grants, contracts, and acting like a role model for the youth before making a decision to go to the escort life. That might have saved her and family to some extent.
Unfortunately, in her culture, escorts are not respected and it was clear that she could not have continued the double life.
"What a bizarre story. Very interesting."
Sometimes hard to process the lack of remorse, even as somebody with a bipolar parent.
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